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iPads Bring the e-Journal Back to the Table

Section: Blog

Have you contemplated taking your ad journal digital, but faced push-back from stakeholders who insist the journal belongs ON the table? Well, here is the solution. Your e-journal can be showcased in elegant tabletop iPad displays for easy viewing from every seat!

iPads can be synced to play in unison for a dramatic “wow” factor — guests simply watch the e-journal “pages” turn. For a more casual event, iPads can be set to interactive mode, allowing guests to flip through ads and take selfies to post to social media, complete with your event hashtag. The display frames can be customized with thematic artwork or with the logo of a major underwriter for an extra level of recognition.

iPads can be used in conjunction with or in lieu of large presentation screens. Now, with Event Journal, the choice is yours. If you would like to learn more about this elegant event technology, click here.

Unveiling Event Journal’s sexy, new platform

Section: Blog

Event Journal’s new EJ:17 platform has launched and, yes, we said sexy! Think of it as Event Journal’s same great product — with an extreme makeover. While EJ:17 will officially roll out in the new year, just like a new car, it’s being pre-released for December events.  Some of its new features include:

  • Sleek, responsive design
  • Improved social media interaction
  • Full screen splash page
  • Customizable “Enter Site” button
  • Top and left Navigation options
  • Upgraded settings for sponsor recognition tiles
  • Enhanced ad gallery featuring larger ads
  • Expanded photo gallery and sharing features
  • New font varieties

We know clients and supporters alike will love the new framework, especially when viewing the websites on mobile devices. Take a look!  View sample website

6 facts you should learn about your fundraising event attendees

Section: Blog

Guest Blogger Sarah Tedesco, Executive VP, DonorSearch

Maybe the big day of your fundraising event is just around the corner. Maybe it just wrapped up and you’re cleaning up decorations. Maybe you just formed a committee and are months away.

Whatever stage of fundraising event coordination you’re in, it’s never the wrong time to think about the role prospect screening can play.

What’s prospect screening? Prospect screening, or research, is the process through which an organization studies data on its donors and potential donors to gauge their giving capacity.

Throughout this process, nonprofits learn main facts that help them determine a prospect’s:

  • Warmth toward their organization
  • Ability to give a gift

Both of which are the key to understanding what makes a donor tick. Once a nonprofit has that information, they can leverage it to design the most effective solicitation strategy possible.

Since your fundraising event attendees are all either established donors or prospective hopefuls, it’s critical that your team finds the time to screen your guest lists.

No matter the timing, as you begin your research, there are some important facts to look out for in your search. They include the following categories:

1. Contact Information and Basic Personal Details
2. Past Giving History
3. Philanthropic Involvement
4. Professional Connections
5. Predicted Giving Level
6. Wealth Markers

From these knowledge categories, you’ll be able to build out robust donor profiles and solicit donations from your event attendees in no time.

Just like donor engagement should occur before during and after an event, prospect research can have a role in all three phases:

  • Before: To decide whom to invite.
  • During: To decide which attendees warrant extra attention.
  • After: To decide the best plans for follow up and stewardship.

To learn more, please click HERE to order your FREE 8-page white paper, written by Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President of DonorSearch. It is filled with useful information to help you get the most out of your organization’s next event.

 

What to Do Now to Ward off Fraudulent Donations

Section: Blog

Guest Columnist: Marc W. Halpert, egiving

Online donations are designed to be easy for donors to use. Unfortunately they can be easy targets for thieves too, seeking a testing place for stolen credit card data to make false donations, hundreds of them in a flash. There is an upswing in nonprofits being attacked online. When you discover your donation site has been compromised, you feel vulnerable, lacking full control, and worst of all, have to explain to your management and Board why this happened.

Here’s what can happen:

The thief purchased thousands of stolen credit card records on the internet and blasted that data at your website donation page, hoping some would succeed. Then knowing which few credit cards actually did work, he goes off to another website and uses them again, for a higher amount, perhaps this time for electronics or other items. The game is over when the cardholder’s bank notices the card has been used irregularly and cancels it. Thieves seem to start with small dollar donations at nonprofits, under bank radar screens for meaningful fraud transactions. They are hoping nonprofits are not as aware of their bank account activity and cash flow as are for-profits. Wrong assumption, but this is the mentality.

In retrospect, when you are tested with fraudulent donations, your online donation mechanism functioned fine; you didn’t set the controls on your gateway and donation page tightly enough. (A gateway is the online service that links a donation page to the merchant accounts. It’s also the place where the current day and historic donation data is stored for bank account reconciliation and statistical purposes.)

Before this happens to your organization, consider procedures to prevent and control future abuse (easily accomplished with the assistance of your merchant account and/or gateway vendors).  Give careful forethought to implement some, if not all, of these:

  • Set a minimum dollar threshold on your gateway to preclude small bogus transactions (in recent cases, 7 cents or $1.03) from slipping through.
  • Address verification service (AVS) must be enabled on your gateway. You want the combined house number AND the 5 digit zip code of the cardholder to match the AVS algorithm used by the card brands to successfully process a card.
  • Some well-regarded gateways allow you to block computer IP addresses in selected foreign countries. As an option you can set the gateway to reject all but those in the USA, if appropriate for your donor base.
  • Ask your web developer to identify the thief’s IP address. Set the cart to recognize that IP address in the future and automatically direct him to a government website (like FBI.gov).
  • Think about including a CAPTCHA or “I am not a robot” challenge-response test as well. You want a human to make a donation, and these block fraudulent robo-processing.
  • Be sure donations are reported to multiple email boxes so at least one of your fellow staff will notice immediately if a vulnerability occurs. If staffers work outside of the office, be sure transaction notifications buzz on their cellphones. Thieves assume you are not watching and can work their mayhem on weekends and in the middle of the night.
  • Some strong gateways use artificial intelligence and report to you anything that seems awry. They work 24x7x366. Be sure you can heed their warning to multiple staff cellphones at any time.
  • Manually reverse every successful transaction that doesn’t belong to you via the gateway refund function (immediately!). Your fee for a chargeback (when a consumer declines a purchase by starting a documentary process with his bank to reverse the card transaction) is usually $25. Prevent being hit with $25,000 in charge-back fees if you receive 1,000 7-cent fraudulent transactions!
  • If you have a concern, contact your merchant account salesperson immediately so he/she can advise you how to best notify the fraud experts of the online payment vendors you use. There are established fraud protocols that card processors and gateways follow.
  • Finally, review your transactions at least daily. Pay attention to which ones failed, look for patterns of odd transactions and report them immediately by phone, not via an online service ticket, for fastest servicing.

I hope you never need to use these controls, after the fact. Heed this advice to tighten controls now, align with best-in-class service vendors who have your ongoing security top of mind, and ask them to help you become better protected. Nothing is foolproof but you need a procedure in place to be able to react quickly if this does indeed happen to your nonprofit.

For 15 years, Marc W. Halpert has made a point of providing nonprofits the customized design and service for secure online donations, gala ticketing, membership dues payments, event registration and specialized payment technologies that make sense for YOUR organization’s particular needs, with expert attention to detail. For more information or to contact Marc, click here.

Putting Donors to Work Can Help You Raise More

Section: Blog

 

Does your organization have a major donor who has reached a giving plateau or, even worse, decreased his or her contribution level? Perhaps that’s because you are only asking for money. Investing major donors in your organization — personally, can lead to greater financial investment.

One of the primary mistakes non-profits make is assuming major donors would shy away from volunteering. Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority explains that, given the right opportunity, established donors might be thrilled to pitch in. Hands-on experience will lead to a better understanding of your organization’s mission, yielding a deeper connection. This can translate into a greater financial investment. So don’t be afraid to ask for help, and re-ignite your donor’s passion for your work.

Read this article in its entirety at The Fundraising Authority

Celebrating Amazing Women: Lillian D. Wald, Social Service Pioneer

Section: Blog

What do the NAACP, the Visiting Nurse Association and the Henry Street Settlement all have in common? They were all founded by nurse, author and humanitarian Lillian D. Wald. In 1922, The New York Times named Wald as one of the 12 greatest living Americans. Who was this woman who accomplished so much in her 73 years, and practically invented the blueprint for the modern-day social service agency?

Wald was born in 1867 into a German-Jewish middle-class family in Cincinnati, Ohio and came to New York in 1889 to attend nursing school. In 1893, after witnessing the poverty of Lower East Side immigrants, she founded the Henry Street Settlement. In an era when poor patients were routinely turned away from hospitals, Wald and her team provided free healthcare, often risking their own lives to enter squalid tenements and exposing themselves to illness. The  Visiting Nurse Service of New York broke off as a separate entity in 1944.

Henry Street also provided social services and instruction in everything from the English language to art to music. By 1913, the Settlement had expanded to seven buildings, with 92 nurses making 200,000 visits per year. Today, the Henry Street Settlement remains firmly rooted on Lower East Side of Manhattan, where it continues to service an ethnically-diverse community.

Wald was also an advocate for children, labor, immigrant, civil and women’s rights. She helped institute the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the United States Children’s Bureau, the National Child Labor Committee and the National Women’s Trade Union League.

While we could go on for pages about this leader of extraordinary compassion, there are a variety of books available on Wald and her legacy. You can learn more about the impact of settlement houses, in anecdotal format, in Anita Diamant’s best-selling novel Boston Girl.

Event Planning Versus Event Marketing

Section: Blog

While you may be an event planning pro, how would you rate yourself in terms of event marketing? Of course, the two are completely intertwined! As you plan your next charity gala, how are you and your staff getting the word out? Here are some tips from Check In Easy.

Be Online – ALL the Time: People are practically internet obsessed, so businesses need to be too. On average, there are just under half a million people per minute accessing Facebook from their mobile phones. Follow the herd and get them interested via a frequently updated special event page on which happy guests can talk up their (obviously A++) experiences and do your work for you.

Go to Video: Video is a powerful tool with a growing online audience. Create and post videos that build excitement for your event so people are inspired to take action (sign up for more information, buy a ticket, share with a friend).

Revisit Past Successes: It costs far times more money to acquire a new supporter than it does to retain existing one. Invest in courting past guests for your future events. Perhaps there are participants who have “fallen off” over the past year or two. Reach out to those people to find out why and determine if you can re-engage them.

Foster Relationships: Relationships are incredibly important, not only to you but to your guests. Participate in social media groups filled with like-minded professionals, attend events and work the room at industry mixers. Future success may lie in the hands of those you have yet to meet.

Read more on Check In Easy’s blog.

 

Five Fundraising Trends

Section: Blog

The winds of change keep fundraising landscapes on the move. Knowing the trends will help you stay one foot ahead. These are the top 5 Fundraising Trends, according to Arjuna Solutions.

1. Online payments are on the rise: Blackbaud’s 2014 Charitable Giving Report and M+R’s 2015 Benchmark Study both found increases of about 10% from 2013-2014. Keep in mind transaction fees when choosing services, but users are keen to donate when it’s both easier and faster. Event Journal operates on a fee-for-service model and, as such, does not charge transaction fees.

2. Millennial donors are a different breed: While they’re donating less, they’re still donating. And your best bet to getting them invested is to engage them. Embrace ambitious and bold goals, focus on emotional and compelling stories (that are easy to share) and use predicted ask amounts.

3. Digital is the new frontier: Your website needs to be professional, mobile-responsive, quick to load and interact with. Equally importantly, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media pages must be regularly populated with fresh, engaging content. While direct mail and other offline strategies will remain important, online engagement continues to grow in importance. Learn More

4. Donations 365/24/7: Younger donors do not wait until the traditional giving season to make a donation, nor do they necessarily time their donations to maximize tax benefits. Thanks to the internet you can be ready when they are: 24/7 and 365 days a year. 

5. Predictive Analytics: Nonprofits must enlist predictive analytics engine to determine willingness to donate, and ultimately use this data to generate precise ask amounts for each donor. This has been proven far more effective than open-ended or standard tiered asks. Learn More

Read this article in its entirety on Arjuna Solutions blog.

Networking Your Way to Sponsorship Connections

Section: Blog

Business networking events are happening all around you: morning, noon and night. From industry-protected, lead-generating groups to professional associations for particular fields, to chambers of commerce and executive leadership groups … business people are looking to make connections.

As a representative of a nonprofit, you can offer business people opportunities to serve on boards and committees, building their own resume in the area of community service. Once they connect and become engaged in your mission, their companies — and those of their clients and colleagues — make ideal targets for sponsorships, journal ads and honoree positions for your events.

Here are a few tips for building successful relationships via business networking:

  • Don’t be a wallflower: Don’t hang back. Remember, you have something valuable to offer these people – involvement in your cause; a market of constituents to connect with; leadership opportunities and more…
  • Ask questions: What do people do, both for business and fun? People love to talk about themselves and will often tell you things you can incorporate when it’s your turn to talk about your own position.
  • Gauge his or her reaction: Sometimes when you mention your work, a person will respond with a spark of interest. If you see this reaction, dig in and talk more. Ask what brings them to have an interest in this work. Other times, eyes glaze over or dart to where the person can move on to. Politely end that conversation and move on – there are plenty of other fish in the sea!
  • Relationship Building Happens outside the meeting: Networking encounters are kind of like speed dates … you get a sense of whether or not there’s a connection, but not much more. Real relationship building begins afterward, when you follow up – perhaps with an email expressing that you enjoyed meeting that person and inviting them to meet for breakfast, lunch or coffee for an “opportunity call.” Spend an hour or two getting to know that person. Find out what their interests are and how you can start to pull them into a relationship with your organization.
  • It’s not about instant gratification: Networking isn’t about getting something directly out of the people you meet. It’s about who they know and will tap on your behalf. For each quality relationship you build, you will open the doors to many more connections. With all of those connections and a larger pool of quality committee and board members and honorees, sponsorship commitments will be that much easier to close.

Business publications are the perfect source of calendar listings for a wide variety of networking groups and opportunities. Do your research and check the organization’s websites, many even have member lists and you can get an idea of the types and sizes of businesses represented. Go to each group at least twice and decide where you feel you can make the most ground for your own style, interests and personality.

Happy networking!

Event Journal President Karen Perry-Weinstat to Receive Smart CEO’s 2016 Brava Award

Section: Blog

SmartCEO announced that Karen Perry-Weinstat, Event Journal President, will be receiving their 2016 Brava Award. The Brava Awards celebrates the distinguished achievements of 40 of Long Island’s top women business leaders. This year’s class collectively generates more than $10.38 billion in annual revenue and employs 8,149 individuals.

“Brava winners possess the hallmark qualities of successful leaders — vision, passion,compassion, dedication, perseverance. Each winner in this year’s class exhibits these qualities in all facets of her life, from running her business to tending to her family and donating time and resources to philanthropic initiatives,” says Jaime Nespor-Zawmon, president of SmartCEO. “We are honored to recognize a group of women who are truly making a difference in the world.”

The Long Island Brava Awards ceremony on August 10, 2016, is an expected sell-out event where more than 350 local executives and guests will gather and celebrate their noteworthy achievements. Past Brava winners will also be in attendance to welcome the new class of winners into the Brava community. The event will kick off with a cocktail reception, followed by a video-packed awards ceremony and a final, inspirational toast to the female leaders of Long Island.

See SmartCEO’s website for a complete list of recipients.